Adams scores four tries as Lions romp to victory in tour opener

·3-min read

Wing Josh Adams scored four tries as the British and Irish Lions romped to a 56-14 victory over the Johannesburg-based Lions on Saturday in the opening match of a South Africa tour.

The home side, who are likely to prove the weakest opponents for the tourists, trailed 21-7 at half-time and collapsed during the closing stages behind closed doors at Ellis Park.

Adams was the only starter who also began the warm-up victory over Japan in Edinburgh last Saturday and scored all his tries in the second half as the South Africans faded.

Judgment on the tourists will be reserved given the poor quality of the opposition, but they adapted comfortably to the 1,753-metre (5,751 feet) altitude and were often clinical when scoring chances occurred.

British and Irish Lions captain Stuart Hogg said: "We talked about putting a marker down and showing what we were about.

"At times we were really clinical, we finished off some opportunities. At other times we were slightly scrappy. It is a good start and we will continue to build.

"We are not the finished article, but we look forward to the challenges that lie ahead. We came up against some big men and wanted to shift them around. At times it came off."

The tourists needed only 203 seconds to score on a 14th tour to South Africa as Louis Rees-Zammit collected a Chris Harris kick and raced away for a try which Owen Farrell converted.

Hamish Watson powered over after a tap penalty and another simple conversion for Farrell stretched the lead to 14 points with just eight minutes gone.

Having breached the South Africans' defence twice, the British and Irish Lions were subjected to severe pressure for seven minutes inside their 22 before winning a penalty to end the assault.

- Illegal Lawes -

Having weathered multi-phase attacks, the visitors scored again on 33 minutes when Ali Price took full advantage of a gap to score and Farrell added the extra points.

The South Africans responded with a try two minutes later thanks to Democratic Republic of Congo-born flanker Vincent Tshituka, who barged over and Jordan Hendrikse converted.

Wyn Jones thought he had notched a fourth try for the tourists just before half-time but it was disallowed after the television match official spotted an illegal clear-out by Courtney Lawes in the build-up.

The second half was just 49 seconds old when Adams opened his account and apart from his four tries, replacement Gareth Davies also scored.

Farrell converted all eight tries, most from simple positions.

All the South Africans could manage in return was a try from Rabz Maxwane, which cut the visitors' lead to 14 points for 10 minutes before the floodgates opened.

Next up for the tourists is a match on Wednesday against the Sharks, one of the two strongest South African franchises, also at Ellis Park.

The Sharks are based in Durban, but the fixture was moved to limit travelling for the Lions amid a third wave of Covid-19 in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Lions coach Warren Gatland believes the decision to omit original captain Alun Wyn Jones from the tour after sustaining a shoulder injury against Japan may have been premature.

"The assessment may have been too hasty and the injury might not be as serious as first thought," said the New Zealand-born coach.

Assistant coach Neil Jenkins said the tourists had not ruled out the 35-year-old lock flying to South Africa for the three-Test series from July 24 if he can prove his fitness.

"He is a world-class player and a class act in everything he does. If he could get back that would be awesome," said the former Wales fly-half.

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